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Joan Rivers

 Joan Rivers

Credit: E!

What if Joan Rivers hadn't been fired from her FOX talk show?

Would the late show landscape be very different than what it is today?
This week HitFix is revisiting some of the key turning points in recent entertainment history and considering what would have happened if history had turned a bit differently. What if...?
 
In October 1986, comedian Joan Rivers debuted her own late night talk show on FOX. It was a move based on Rivers' work as the permanent guest host for Johnny Carson on NBC's "The Tonight Show," which was strong enough for most people to think Rivers might be a logical choice to take over when Carson retired. But that idea fell apart after a confidential memo for NBC executives was leaked listing ten possible replacements for Carson -- and Rivers was nowhere on the list. When Carson decided to sign on for a three year contract and Rivers was only given a one-year extension on her deal, she had no problem hopping networks (and taking a bigger payday) from FOX. Unfortunately, her screw-you to NBC also made Carson feel blindsided. After the move, he never spoke to Rivers again. Ultimately, it was all for naught. Rivers was fired in May of 1987.
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What if the Dixie Chicks hadn't insulted George Bush from a London stage?
Credit: The Weinstein Company

What if the Dixie Chicks hadn't insulted George Bush from a London stage?

Would they still be burning up the country charts?

This week HitFix is revisiting some of the key turning points in recent entertainment history and considering what would have happened if history had turned a bit differently. What if...?

In 2003, The Dixie Chicks were on top of the country world, garnering airplay and selling out venues around the world for their tight, strong melodies, lead by Natalie Maines’ strikingly strong, compelling vocals. They were a new breed of country star: completely contemporary and modern. They appreciated the past, but had no desire to revisit it.

Then, while on tour in London in March 2003, as the U.S. was preparing to invade Iraq, under President George W. Bush’s command,  Maines looked out at the audience and said, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”

Quicker than you can say “weapons of mass destruction,” country radio retaliated, dropping the Chicks’ music and angry Americans burned their albums.

Two days later, Maines followed up by saying that she felt that President Bush was ignoring the opinion of many Americans. Four days after the initial comment, she issued a half-hearted apology, saying, “As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful.” She went on to say that she wanted to see every viable option explored before the U.S. went to war, but the apology was too little too late.

What if Natalie Maines had never dissed President Bush  from the London stage?

Three things that might not have happened:


1. Country music wouldn’t be drowning in tired, hackneyed tropes about pick-up trucks, girls in short skirts and cowboy boots, and tractors. The Dixie Chicks brought a certain sophistication to country music. Their music was awash in country instrumentation—fiddles, mandolins, banjos —but their lyrical approach was fresh and innovative, adding a spunky  twist to  topics such as domestic abuse (“Goodbye Earl”) escaping a bad marriage (“Sin Wagon”), or just the need to break away from home (“Wide Open Spaces”).

2. The Dixie Chicks wouldn’t have appeared nude on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. As part of their publicity campaign to explain their political position, Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison posed nude for the cover of the magazine with words such as “Traitor,” “Hero,” “Brave” and “Free Speech” on their bodies.

3. The Dixie Chicks wouldn’t have swept the 2007 Grammys. Yes, the trio’s “Taking The Long Way” was a strong effort, but the five trophies, including album of the year, and record of the year for “Not Ready To Make Nice,” were as much a statement of solidarity by the music community as it was an acknowledgement of creative achievement.

Three things we predict might have happened:


1. They would have continued to make great records. In many ways, it felt like the Chicks were just hitting their stride and finding their voice. Instead, after the 2006 “Taking the Long Way” album and “Shut Up and Sing” documentary, they retreated to lick their wounds and have only occasionally played gigs.

2. Both Maines and her band mates, siblings Maguire and Robison would have also had solo careers run parallel to the Chicks. We probably still would have gotten the two excellent Courtyard Hounds sets, as well as Maines’ rock album, “Mother.”

3. Country music would have embraced more outspoken female artists. To an extent that has happened with Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves, but way too many country females still tend to play it safe, content to not stir the pot.

Did history work out for the best?

No. In terms of their commercial career, the Dixie Chicks plunged off a cliff. As “Shut Up & Sing,”  the documentary about their fall,  chronicles, they received death threats and the public has been very slow to forgive her words, even though other artists have made far more incendiary comments. While they seem to be touring more —the trio just announced a slate of Canadian dates for late summer and early fall— they are a voice that is severely missed.

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<p>Katy Perry at the 'Smurfs 2' premiere.</p>

Katy Perry at the 'Smurfs 2' premiere.

Credit: AP Photo

Does Katy Perry 'Roar' into the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 over 'Blurred Lines?'

Where does Lady Gaga's 'Applause' land?

Katy Perry’s “Roar” may be loud, but it’s not quite ferocious enough to topple Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” featuring T.I. and Pharrell, which stays atop the Billboard Hot 100 for an 11th week.

Perry’s “Roar” still make an impressive leap, jumping 85-2 in its second week on the charts. That’s the largest leap for a song since Drake’s “Make Me Proud,” featuring Nicki Minaj, soared 97-9 in November 2011. While “Roar” is getting plenty of airplay, the digital sales are what propelling the tune: “Roar” sold 557,000 this week, a career high for Perry, according to Billboard.

“Roar” pushes Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” down 2-3, which inches Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” down one spot, 3-4.

Jay Z’s “Holy Grail,” featuring Justin Timberlake, holds at No. 5. Perry’s fellow pop diva, Lady Gaga, also zooms into the top 10, bowing at No. 6 with “Applause.” It moves to No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Songs chart.

Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” destined to be locked out of the top spot, continues to fall, slipping 4-7. Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” move 7-8, Anna Kendrick’s “Cups” 6-9 and Capital Cities’ “Safe and Sound” 9-10.

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"Too Young to Marry"

 "Too Young to Marry"

Credit: Oxygen

Watch: Two high strung teens in love may really be 'Too Young to Marry'

Their moms may be even crazier

Are these teens in love 'Too Young to Marry'? I think the answer is probably "yes, duh," but for a more involved and thoughtful examination, you can watch Oxygen’s new mini-series, "Too Young To Marry," (Sept. 11 at 10:00 p.m.). Think "Teen Mom" without the babies. So, all the crazy and only some of the guilt, I guess. 

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Kevin Spacey: Bill Clinton told me he binged on 'House of Cards' in 3 days


Kevin Spacey: Bill Clinton told me he binged on "House of Cards" in 3 days
"I love that show. It's so good," the actor quotes the former president as saying, in an interview with Charlie Rose.


Judge rules that "Snooki & JWoww" can film in a small New Jersey town
A neighbor tried to file an injunction against the MTV reality show.


Did Diddy decline "Idol" judge job due to ex J.Lo?
Sean "Diddy" Combs was up for the 3rd judge's spot until Jennifer Lopez was set to return, something which Diddy's rep denies.


Google may be interested in NFL's Sunday Ticket
Could NFL’s Sunday Ticket package end up on YouTube?


Ricky Gervais hopes to bring "The Office's" David Brent to the big screen
Brent tells The Hollywood Reporter he hopes his "Learn Guitar with David Brent" series becomes a film about Brent trying to make it in the movie industry. He also talks about his regular double dates with Jerry Seinfeld.


Eliza Coupe goes from "Happy Endings" to "The Millers"
She's joining the CBS comedy as Will Arnett's ex-wife.


David Cassidy arrested for drunk driving
"The Partridge Family" star was taken into custody early this morning in upstate New York.


Fox buys a comedy described as a male "Laverne & Shirley"
The two lead characters of "Paroled" will also be on parole.


Israel's "Real Housewives" adds the franchise's first-ever male cast member
Openly gay hairstylist Philip Vazana has become the franchise's first househusband.


Oxygen orders a nail-design reality competition show

"Nailed It!" will pit the nation's "fiercest" nail designers against each other for the prize of ultimate nail artist.


"Bar Rescue" star will tackle struggling restaurants

Spike TV's "Hungry Investors" will feature Jon Taffer as he works with experts to help restaurants down on their luck.


Robert Osborne, 81, is happy with his new reduced TCM schedule
"I think I feel better than I have in a long time," he says of his reduced schedule, which means less time in airports flying between New York City and Turner Classic Movies headquarters in Atlanta.


Neil Patrick Harris channels Buster Keaton

Watch his new video for Funny or Die.


Sarah Palin praises Ashton Kutcher for "speaking truth to power" in Teen Choice Awards speech
Kutcher's speech in which he describes the hard work that created his opportunity for success has received a lot of attention from conservatives.


DisneyXD renews "Kickin' It"
The channel's highest-rated series will be back for Season 4.

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<p>&quot;The Book Thief&quot;</p>

"The Book Thief"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Fox's potential awards sleeper 'The Book Thief' gets a trailer

Emily Watson, Geoffrey Rush and young Sophie Nélisse star in the WWII drama

It may be taking the stealth approach in this year's awards season, but Kris has already flagged up "The Book Thief" as one to keep an eye on as the Oscar race takes shape. Fox 2000 quietly scheduled the prestige drama for a November 15 release -- prime real estate in the awards game, as we all know -- and the film ticks any number of baity boxes: based on a 2006 international bestseller by Markus Zusak, the film centers on Liesel, a nine-year-old girl in Nazi Germany, studying her relationship both with her foster parents and the Jewish fist-fighter her family shelters in their household.

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Sylvester Stallone in talks for a 'Rambo' TV series


Sylvester Stallone in talks for a "Rambo" TV series
Stallone is in negotiations to participate on a "creative level," but there's also the possibility he could reprise his iconic role.


"Dr. Phil" responds to the deleted tweet about sleeping with a drunk girl

"This Tweet was intended to evoke discussion leading into a very serious show topic," said a show spokesperson. "It was not intended to be taken lightly."


"Rizzoli & Isles" pays a brief tribute to Lee Thompson Young
"In Loving Memory" ran at the end of last night's episode.


E! spins off "The Soup" with "The Soup Investigates"
Joel McHale's spinoff debuts Oct. 2, promising to expose "pop culture mysteries, celebrity rumors and shocking questions."


Aziz Ansari and Andy Samberg join the James Franco roast

Samberg will join fellow "SNL" alum Bill Hader on the dais.


James Franco to host an arts show on Ovation
"James Franco Presents" is a one-hour, weekly series, debuting in November, Franco announced in an Instagram message.


"Survivor" bringing back Season's 1 Gervase, Season 2's Tina and Rupert Boneham
They are among numerous twists from the "Blood vs. Water" season.


Lance Bass addresses 'N Sync reunion report
On his Sirius XM, Bass played coy about a reunion.

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<p>How would TV&nbsp;history be different if HBO&nbsp;had passed on &quot;The Sopranos&quot;&nbsp;for a drama from &quot;My So-Called Life&quot;&nbsp;creator Winnie Holzman?</p>

How would TV history be different if HBO had passed on "The Sopranos" for a drama from "My So-Called Life" creator Winnie Holzman?

Credit: HBO/ABC

What if HBO picked up Winnie Holzman's show instead of 'The Sopranos'?

Would we have spent the last 15 years in a female-centric cable renaissance?

This week HitFix is revisiting some of the key turning points in recent entertainment history and considering what would have happened if history had turned a bit differently. What if...?

In the late '90s, HBO executives had to decide what original drama series would be selected to follow the prison series "Oz." According to HBO executive Carolyn Strauss, the choice came down to two ideas: David Chase's New Jersey mob drama "The Sopranos," and a drama about a female business executive from "My So-Called Life" creator Winnie Holzman. HBO picked "The Sopranos," which became an enormous commercial and critical hit, transformed the way we watched and talked about television, and inspired a wave of classic dramas set in a criminal world and/or about middle-aged male anti-heroes.

What if HBO had chosen Winnie Holzman's idea instead of "The Sopranos"? 

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"So You Think You Can Dance"

 "So You Think You Can Dance"

Credit: Fox

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: A new face is in the bottom

The final eight perform and two more get the boot

We're down to the top eight dancers, and wow, what dancers. I can't really say there's anyone I want to go home, and I almost never feel that way at this point in the season. But then, when everyone's this good, it's a shame anyone has to go. 

Sorta love that opening number! It's like a continuation of Jasmine's hip hop routine from two weeks ago. 

Cat Deeley looks like she just got out of the pool after falling in with a full-face of non-waterproof make-up. She has news! The All-Stars are choreographing the routines. Somewhere, Sonja Tayeh is taking a well-deserved nap. 

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Dr. Phil quickly deletes tweet asking: "If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her?"


Dr. Phil quickly deletes tweet asking: "If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her?"
The TV talk show host got a lot of heat when he tweeted to his more than 1 million followers the following, "If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to @drphil #teensaccused."


Miss Universe pageant is staying put in Russia, despite anti-gay laws

The pageant says it's "deeply concerned" by the new laws but won't change plans to hold the pageant on Nov. 9 in Moscow.


Elmore Leonard was "amazed" by "Justified"
Leonard, who had an executive producer credit on the FX series, said last year at a "Justified" panel: "I think it's a terrific show. I love all of the writing, and I'm amazed sometimes that they've got the characters better than I put them on paper. They are doing a good job, really a good job."


Walker Stalker Con: Atlanta to hold the first "Walking Dead" convention
The fan-created convention will be held in the AMC show's hometown from Nov. 1-3. PLUS: Universal Studios Hollywood opening its backlot on Halloween for "Walking Dead" zombie invasion.


"Big Brother" champ Hayden Moss will join his girlfriend on "Survivor"
Moss' girlfriend is "Survivor: One World's" Kat Edorsson.


Convenience store clerk critically injured trying to stop David Hasselhoff sign thieves
More than 500 Hoff-themed signs for Cumberland Farm have been stolen in recent months.


CW buys dramedy project from Rashida Jones and her older sister

The proposed series from Rashida and Kidada Jones revolves around a payback business.


Courtney Stodden is reportedly joining "Celebrity Big Brother" with her "Lost" alum hubby
The teen bride and husband Doug Hutchison are poised to enter the UK reality show on Thursday.


Here are 10 songs that should be retired from TV

From Mama Cass' "Make Your Own Kind of Music" to "Hide and Seek" from Imogen Heap.


Meet the "Breaking Bad" DEA agent with the incredible mustache

Robert Sanchez has been in a number of DEA-themed scenes over the years, and got his job thanks to Dean Norris.


Simon Cowell confirms he's going to be a father
"I'm proud to be a dad," he tells the BBC. PLUS: See Cowell's "X Factor" poster.


Details of Gia Allemand's suicide released

According to official documents, "The Bachelor" star's boyfriend, NBA player Ryan Anderson told her, "I don't love you anymore," in the hours before she killed herself.


"Breaking Bad's" Albuquerque studio lands 2 network shows
NBC's "The Night Shift" and ABC's "Killer Women" will be filmed at ABQ Studios. The decision to shoot in Albuquerque is another blow to Hollywood.


Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank: "House of Cards" demeans the democratic process

Frank calls the Netflix series unfair, inaccurate and unfortunate.


"Drunk History" costume designer says her job is "fast and furious"

"Every day we shot a different mini movie in a different time period," says  Christina Mongini, who also works on "The League" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm."


"Orphan Black's" Dylan Bruce joins Lifetime's "Flowers in the Attic"
He'll play Heather Graham's husband.


Watch Yahoo! new show trailers from Ed Helms, Jack Black, Cheryl Hines
Yahoo! is premiering five new shows on Sept. 9.


How "Orange is the New Black" became one of the year's best shows
Creator Jenji Kohan turned a fish-out-of-water tale on its head. PLUS: See the "Orange" cast as paper dolls.


"Duck Dynasty" star speaks out against abortion
Phil Robertson has previously said the A&E reality show plays down his and his family's religious views.


Louis CK plays Letterman an answering message from Andrew Dice Clay

"Jerkoff face..."


"Shahs of Sunset" star hit with a restraining order from ex-boyfriend
GG allegedly threatened her ex with her cache of deadly knives.


"True Blood's" Rutina Wesley files for divorce

Wesley has been married her Julliard classmate since 2005.


Cole Hauser joins "Rogue"
He'll co-star with Thandie Newton in Season 2 of the DirecTV series.


PBS begins an examination of "The Life of Muhammad"
The multi-part documentary could also be called "Islam 101."

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<p>Chiara Mastroianni and Vincent Lindon in &quot;Bastards.&quot;</p>

Chiara Mastroianni and Vincent Lindon in "Bastards."

Credit: Wild Bunch

Toronto completes lineup with Masters, Discovery and Maverick programmes

Claire Denis, Gia Coppola, Jia Zhang-ke among directors joining the fest

The Toronto International Film Festival lineup, staggered as it is over multiple announcements, never quite seems to be complete: just when you think they can't possibly add any more films to the gargantuan programme, a fresh batch is added.  Today's additions, however, appear to be the last ones, and here's the final tally: this year, 288 features and 78 shorts will play in the 11-day festival. A whopping 146 of those features are world premieres. I've never been to Toronto, and am not going this year, but the very thought makes me want to lie down with a cool flannel over my head.

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<p>Miley Cyrus's &quot;We Can't Stop&quot;</p>

Miley Cyrus's "We Can't Stop"

Credit: RCA Records

Countdown to MTV's Video Music Awards: Best Female Video

Can anyone beat Miley Cyrus' unstoppable 'We Can't Stop?'

As MTV’s 2013 Video Music Awards approach, we’ll countdown to the Aug. 25 ceremony, which airs live at 9 p.m. ET from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Justin Timberlake and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis lead the nominations with six each, closely followed by Bruno Mars, Pink, Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus and Thirty Seconds To Mars.

Among the artists performing on the show are Lady Gaga, who will open the awards; Timberlake, Mars, and Cyrus.

We’ll look at a different category each day leading up to Aug. 25.

Best Female Video
Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko, "Stay"
Taylor Swift, "I Knew You Were Trouble"
Miley Cyrus, "We Can't Stop" 
Pink feat. Nate Ruess, "Just Give Me A Reason"
Demi Lovato, "Heart Attack"


We can pretend for a hot minute that anything other than Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” will win here, but her wacky video is a shoo-in. Remember, it’s a fan voted away and the clip has already garnered close to 150 million page views on Vevo in two months. But for the sake of argument: Rihanna lets her vulnerability, and a lot more, show in her clip for “Stay.”  She spends most of it sitting naked in a tub, until Mikky Ekko comes into the same bathroom with Rihanna no longer there.  It’s beautifully shot, but there’s not a lot more to it than that. Not that there needs to be. Pretty much the same thing with Pink’s video for “Just Give Me A Reason”: nice and emotional (this time on a floating bed instead of in a bath) but not strong enough to topple Cyrus. Like Rihanna, Demi Lovato shows herself with very little make-up, which signifies vulnerability, in “Heart Attack,” which is a glorified performance clip with some very cool effects. On “I Knew You Were Trouble,” Taylor Swift wakes up lying on the cold ground from a most un-Swift-like rave. It’s a bit of a change of pace for Swift who takes off with the bad boy after a long voice over and dabbles in dubstep. Not her best, though admittedly intriguing.

Who Should Win: Miley Cyrus, “We Can’t Stop”
Who Will Win: Miley Cyrus: We Can’t Stop”
 

PREVIOUS PREDICTIONS

Best Male Video

 

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